Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing tips & ideas to help you grow your business, by Jim Connolly

Page 22 of 176

Seek out the dissatisfied (not the disinterested)

It’s a fact: People who are happy with their current provider, are not looking for whatever your business is offering.

Even if you’re providing amazing value, it’s invisible to those who are not interested.

Focus on the dissatisfied

Yes, build an awareness of how great your product or service is, so people know who you are and where you are, when they have a need.

However, if you want to have the full attention of people, who are ready to make a purchasing decision right now… seek out the dissatisfied.

It’s a far more rewarding business building strategy, than trying to convince the disinterested.

Marketing 101: Make it more attractive, not more annoying!

spam

Around 30 people email me every day, with some kind of pitch. They do this, even though I specifically ask people not to pitch me, on the contact page of the blog.

They think their email is somehow special

They spam me, because they think that spamming is something that other people do. It’s OK for them to ignore my request, because they think their pitch is different.

It isn’t. In fact, the type of people who use that uncreative, pushy ‘spray and pray’ approach to email marketing, never have anything interesting to say.

The rules apply to all of us

Here’s the thing: No matter how special, ethical, important or valuable we believe our message is, the rules of effective marketing still apply to us. Spam is spam, even when we do it.

If you want people to take notice of you, do something worthy of their attention and make it easy for them to share. Build an email marketing list, from people who give you permission to email them.

If our message is genuinely of use or interest, the first 10 people who hear about it will each get us another 10, who will do the same, and so on…

If we have to keep pushing our message, because too few people are sharing it, it’s time to make what we’re doing more attractive – not more annoying.

25 Reasons to write a business blog

business blogging

Without doubt, business blogging is the most powerful and cost effective marketing tool I have ever encountered. It’s also extremely enjoyable.

Here are 25 reasons, why I recommend business blogging to you.

  1. Business blogging encourages you to keep learning, so you have something useful to share.
  2. Business blogging can generate regular (daily), targeted business leads. The caveat here, is that you need to learn how to write well and how to market your blog.
  3. Business blogging is the best way to build a huge, targeted, professional network. You don’t need Linkedin or any other network, when thousands of people already know who you are, exactly what you do and how to contact you.
  4. Business blogging allows you to reach people… lots of people, with your message. That’s because blogging scales to infinity. In other words, a post can reach one person or a million people, yet it still takes you the same amount of time to write it.
  5. Business blogging is more fun than watching prime-time TV.
  6. Business blogging is also far more rewarding than watching TV.
  7. Business blogging publicly demonstrates your ability to show up regularly. Reliability is highly valued in business.
  8. Business blogging provides a showcase for your knowledge. This is enormously valuable. People who hire me, know all about my work long before they ever speak with me.
  9. Business blogging increases your professional profile, as new people discover you and your work every day.
  10. Business blogging gives you the best tool on the planet, for building a community or tribe.
  11. Business blogging gives you a voice. If you have something important to say, people will hear you. This is especially the case if you stick with blogging, for long enough to build a large readership. How long does that take? About a week longer than the typical blogger is prepared to invest, before she gives up.
  12. Business blogging sometimes inspires people to email you, to say how your work helped them. This is far more rewarding than most people imagine.
  13. Business blogging makes you a more informed reader, as you understand the work and creativity that people put into their written work.
  14. Business blogging causes you to have to regularly dig down deep, really deep, to find something worth sharing. That sounds like hard work, but just as lifting weights builds your physical muscles, digging down deep builds your mental muscles.
  15. Business blogging makes you a better communicator. I’m convinced that regular blogging has improved my communication skills across the board, not just in writing.
  16. Business blogging is a great way to meet new people, especially if you publish a link to your email, on every post and page of your site as I do. (It’s on the sidebar.)
  17. Business blogging makes you a lot better at asking questions.
  18. Business blogging also encourages you to question your own opinions, to ensure they stand up to scrutiny and are worthy of your readers.
  19. Business blogging encourages you to regularly do research, increasing your own knowledge base.
  20. Business blogging can get you recognised in the mainstream press, for being named the most influential blog in your class, by the world’s biggest PR company.
  21. Business blogging allows you to build fantastic contacts. My initial contact with my friend Nile Rodgers, started because of something I wrote here on this blog a few years ago.
  22. Business blogging teaches you to look at things from more than one perspective.
  23. Business blogging provides you with a creative outlet, which helps you grow as a person. In fact, blogging has been the most powerful professional development tool I have ever used or researched.
  24. Business blogging ensures you remain constantly curious… this is priceless.
  25. Business blogging allows you to build a business asset, which grows in value with every passing week.

Get deliberate. Get specific. Get moving!

If you want to get the most from what I am about to share with you, I strongly recommend you read this first!

What do you want from your business? I ask you this question, because the only way to get from where you are right now, to where you want to be, is to be as clear as possible about your destination.

Let’s begin

A great way to start this process, is to ask yourself the following kind of ‘ideal world’ questions. This will show you what you really want to achieve, professionally and personally. It’s then far easier to map out what your ideal business will look like.

For example: In an ideal world…

  • Where would you live?
  • What type of home (or homes) would you live in?
  • What school would your children or grandchildren attend?
  • How many weeks would you spend travelling the world each year?
  • Which charities or causes would you support?
  • How many hours would you work each week?
  • How much would you earn?
  • Who would your clients be?

Add your own questions to the list.

So, what type of business supports YOUR ideal lifestyle?

Your business is directly linked to your lifestyle. It determines how many hours you have available to spend with those you love. It usually determines where you live, both in location and the type of home you can afford.

Once you take some time to answer the questions, around what matters most to YOU, take a look at your current business and see if it’s on course to get you where you want to be.

If not, change your direction. Now.

Remove anything that’s working against you. Build your business model, so that each element is taking you from where you are today, to where you want to be. Focus only on what matters.

How it worked for me

Will this process magically set you on the right path, to live an exceptional lifestyle and grow a great business? Possibly. It did for me.

I went through the exercise I just shared with you and found my ideal business and business model. Here’s a very brief overview of the things I needed to change and how I did it:

I made the decision 9 years ago, when my wife became pregnant, that I wanted to be there for her and our child. No more crazy hours. No more travelling around the world working. This meant completely changing my business model, which consisted of endless travel and minimum 12 hour work days.

So, I took my business and made it 100% digital. I moved all my face-to-face client work to teleconferencing (then Skype). I did the same for all of my meetings. I set boundaries on how many hours I would work and when those hours would be. So, I am around every morning to have breakfast with my son and every evening for dinner.

Pretty much everyone told me that none of that could be done. Not only were they wrong, I soon started earning more than before and massively improved my profitability too. This was only possible, by mapping out my ideal business, in advance… a business that would support what’s most important to me.

Be deliberate

It’s worth reminding ourselves that success requires deliberate planning. Success doesn’t interrupt us.

Yet, we find the vast majority of small business owners make fractured business decisions, with no joined-up strategy. They then wonder why they work so hard and often go round in circles. In many cases, all they need is direction… which only comes when they get clear about what they want and where they’re going.

So, get deliberate. Get specific… and get moving!

Stop settling and start demanding!

demand more

I have an important question for you: Why did you decide to start your business, rather than work for someone else?

That is a question that every small business owner is in touch with, in the early stages of their business. Ask someone that question, when their business is a week old and they will answer, with clarity, instantly.

  • I want to enjoy a better quality of life.
  • I want to be my own boss.
  • I want to make more money.
  • I want the freedom to do things my own way.
  • I want to make a difference.

Then something changes

Something then seems to happen to many, perhaps most, small business owners after a couple of years. It’s as if they lose touch with the motivations, which caused them to start their own business.

They stop making plans – and start making do.

It looks like this:

  • Instead of being focused on the fact there’s no ceiling on their earnings, they focus on there being no floor on their earnings.
  • Instead of experiencing the freedom that comes from owning a business, they experience longer hours than when they were an employee.
  • Instead of being their own boss, they allow their clients or workload to boss them.
  • Instead of focusing on making more money, they focus on making concessions on their lifestyle goals, to fit their income limitations.

Let’s turn it around!

This doesn’t need to happen to you. If it already has, you can turn it around… starting right now.

From this point forward, refuse to ‘settle’ for less than you deserve. Seriously. Stop it.

Reset what you are prepared to accept, so it’s in line with the goals and targets you dreamed about when you started your business. Stop settling and start demanding your share of the good life. Plan to succeed, then follow your plan. Anything less is less than you deserve.

You’re not alone

I am here to help you, every step of the way. I’m committed to providing you with as much useful, free information via the blog as I possibly can.

PS: In tomorrow’s post, I’m going to share some ideas with you, to show you how to create your ideal business and lifestyle, so your business starts working for YOU.

How to build a successful business

how to build a successful business

It’s a very broad question, but a lot of people ask me for help with how to build a successful business.

So, here’s some of the best business development advice I know, along with lots of examples. I hope you find it useful!

Build a successful business… by doing all the work

Maybe the biggest difference between the most successful business owners and everyone else, is this:

  • The most successful business owners do 100% of what’s required to succeed.
  • The average business owner does 100% of the things required… so long as they feel comfortable doing it.

The difference in results between those 2 mindsets is enormous. The successful business owner sees her business needs something, and does it. The typical business owner sees the same thing, then weighs it up based on how comfortable they are about it. If it feels too uncomfortable, even though their business needs it, they don’t do it.

For example: I recall speaking with a business owner once, who sold his business to a guy, who tripled its turnover in 6 months. The former owner told me how frustrated he was, as all the things the new owner did were things he had already thought of doing, but failed to do because they were ‘too risky’. Over the 10 years the former owner had the coffee shop, he believes his aversion to stepping out of his comfort zone lost him at least $15,000,000.

If your business needs something, do it. Puff out your chest, leave your comfort zone and make the right decision rather than the easy decision.

So, to build a successful business do all the work required.

Build a successful business… by connecting with the right people, in advance

To build a successful business, you will need the help and support of others. As I have said here many times over the past 5 years, business is all about people.

One of the key differences between successful business owners and those who struggle, is the way they connect with people.

Successful business owners think of the people, whose help they will need, in advance. They deliberately, regularly make connections with key people. Then, months or years later, if they need their advice or help, it’s there. I know of no exceptions to this rule.

Struggling business owners wait until they need help, then they pester strangers with selfish requests.

For example: I get emails every day, from total strangers who want me to do things for them. Some ask me for detailed marketing advice. Others have just written a book or launched something, and ask me to write about it, because they know I have a great readership.

Never, ever start a business relationship, by asking a total stranger for a selfish favour. Make the connections first. Get to know people. Show some respect. Be human.

The most successful business owners, go beyond this… they actively look for ways to be of value to others, in advance. They know that ‘giving and receiving’, begins with the ‘giving’ part.

So, to build a successful business, make the right connections in advance.

Build a successful business… by having a wide spread of clients or customers

The most successful business owners know the danger of having too few, high paying clients. They make sure they have a wide spread of business, rather than a few clients, who are responsible for a large percentage of their income.

For example: My wife is a very good Amazon customer and spends several thousand there every year. We have deliveries from Amazon every week, often 2 or 3 times. Do you have any idea how big a problem it would be for Amazon, if my wife stopped shopping with them? None. Zilch. Zero. That’s because Amazon has a massive number of customers. They can afford, literally, to lose 50,000 people who spend just as much as my wife, without breaking a sweat.

The typical small business owner does the opposite. Especially service providers. They usually have a small number of clients, who represent the majority of their income. If they lost even one, it would have a serious impact on their business. In some cases, it can put them out of business.

To grow a successful business, your business needs to be resilient. It needs to be robust. It needs to have a wide spread of clients or customers, none of whom have too big a share of your turnover or revenues.

If you currently find yourself too reliant on a small number of clients, make remedying the situation your number one priority. It’s a lot easier to improve your spread of business now, than when you have just lost a major client or customer.

So, to build a successful business, don’t have too many eggs in one basket.

Build a successful business… by using proven strategies, not tactics

One of the biggest mistakes people make, when trying to build a successful business, is to copy the tactics of other successful businesses, rather than learn from their strategies.

For example: Hundreds of ‘new’ social networking sites fail every month, because they try and copy what Facebook or Twitter does, (tactics) and end up creating a very similar network, that has no users. This approach can’t possibly work. Why would anyone use a new version of Facebook, which none of their friends are on?

If instead, they focused on the strategies that worked for Facebook or Twitter, such as developing something sufficiently unique, viral and valuable, they would have stood a better shot.

When you copy someone’s tactics, you simply become a copy of the original. Copies are of little value. The original Mona Lisa is priceless… you can buy a copy though, for the price of a coffee!

The challenge with discovering a successful strategy, is that it’s often hidden. We can see the tactics successful business owners use, because they are visible. However, discovering the strategies behind those tactics takes a lot more detective work. Fortunately, many of the world’s most successful business owners have written books on how they did it. Others are often interviewed, allowing us insights into the strategies they use or have used.

I have never seen a successful business that’s made up of a series of tactics. They are all strategic.

So, to build a successful business, think strategic.

Build a successful business… by getting the help you need

Very, very few successful business owners are equally great at every business discipline. It’s natural for all of us to be stronger in some areas and weaker in others. Commercially, our areas of weakness can have a huge, negative impact on our overall business success, if we allow them to.

This leaves us with 2 options:

  1. Learn to become strong in the areas where we are weak.
  2. Hire expertise in the areas where we are weak.

Ongoing learning is essential to your business success, however, none of us can learn to be an expert in every area. So, we need to choose wisely.

For example: If you need a new website, which looks professional and isn’t simply based on a template used by a million other sites, it pays you to hire a talented designer. Otherwise, it may take you years to learn how to write code and study design, to the point where you can do work as polished as a talented professional web designer. You ‘save’ nothing by either creating a crappy looking DIY website quickly, or by robbing your business of hundreds of hours of your precious time, to learn how to design a great site.

Every successful business I have ever studied, has hired the help it needed. Conversely, every failed business I ever looked into, tried to do it all themselves. DIY is best kept to the home. Do It Yourself accountancy, IT, marketing and legal work, etc, makes zero sense… especially in today’s super competitive economy.

So, to build a successful business, get the help you need.

Finally

I hope you found these ideas useful. More importantly, I hope you do something with them.

How to quickly create a huge increase in your income and profits

money

Did you know that it’s entirely possible, that there are huge, windfall profits right under your nose?

Well, it is! In today’s post I’m going to show you how to find them. I’m also going to share how this helped a small business owner go from being 90 days away from bankruptcy, to enjoying his most successful year ever.

The windfall profits that are under your nose

Most business owners are oblivious to windfall profits, which are right under their noses. Many go through financial hardship, when they could be earning a fortune.

It’s all because they fail to understand this simple truth.

The fastest and most effective way to generate additional, highly profitable revenue, is NOT to go looking for new clients or customers.

Gaining new customers can be very time consuming. In some industries, the process from initial contact with a new client, to cleared funds in your bank account, can be months… many months. Yes, developing new clients needs to be an ongoing part of your business development, but it’s not the fastest or most profitable way to generate a huge increase in your revenues and profits.

However…

This is!

The fastest way to gain highly profitable revenue for your business, is to look for new ways to serve your existing (and former) customers or clients. Developing a new service or product, which they will want, may take a little work, but the pay off is huge.

Why?

Because you already have the trust of your clients. You already have a trading relationship with them. The invoicing and paperwork is already in place. It’s very easy for them to do additional business with you.

Also… you know what their needs are. You know what challenges they face. In other words, you already know what additional services or products they want and need.

Here’s how I made this work for a small business owner.

An example

I used this idea to help a friend of mine, whose IT maintenance business was just 60 days away from bankruptcy. Following 2 years where his revenues and profits fell, he was in real trouble and needed to make money… quickly!

I explained to him, what I have just shared with you… that the place to look for answers was with his clients. So, we spent a couple of hours examining the needs and wants of his clients, until we came up with a totally new service, which could be up and running in 48 hours. The idea was for him to offer his clients an off-site, data back-up service. This is pretty common now, but back then the idea was still new and hardly any of his clients had it covered.

The service was paid for, annually in advance, if they wanted the best deal. He’d found a reliable, highly respected data back-up provider and negotiated a great deal for his clients. I then wrote the marketing email with the offer and we hit send.

Over the next hour, every business he’d provided IT services to received the email. He started to get people calling and emailing him to subscribe to the service within minutes. Almost 45% of his client base signed up within 9 days. This generated £20,000 (around $30,000 USD), in pure profit. A further 17% signed up over the coming 3 months. This was repeat income too!

In 9 days, this hard working small business owner went from almost going broke, to enjoying his most profitable trading period ever.

We went on to create around half a dozen new services, one of which was even more successful. In total, he generated almost £100,000 (around $150,000 USD) in additional, high profit income that year. It changed his life, by giving him the means to grow a very successful, expanding and highly profitable business.

Making it work for you and your business

Your success at this will depend on a number of factors. These include:

  • How many current and former clients you have.
  • How well you know the needs and wants of your clients.
  • How good you are at coming up with new ideas. The best ideas are not always the most obvious.
  • How good you are at marketing the new service.
  • How good your rapport is with your clients and former clients.

Without a doubt, this is one of the most powerful business development ideas out there. It’s perfect, whether you desperately need to make money quickly or you’d just like to be of more service to people and make a lot more money in the process.

It requires a little thought, some creativity and hard work. That’s not too big a price for you to pay, for what can be, and often is, life changing results.

PS: You may find this useful. It’s a case study of how I created and marketed a new service.

How to be more successful, more productive and less angry

Most business owners encounter the same core challenges. The reason some businesses do so much better than others, is how they choose to respond to these challenges.

Anger or Learning

Anger seldom helps: It’s bad for the mind and the body. It causes us to say and do things, which we later regret. It’s unproductive too.

For example:

  • Getting angry at a supplier who regularly lets us down is far less productive, than finding a better supplier.
  • Getting angry with late paying customers when cash flow is a problem, is far less productive than fixing the cause of the cash flow problem.
  • Getting angry when our IT lets us down, is far less productive than investing in better software or hardware.

Learning always helps: It’s how we avoid repeating the same mistakes. This is what leads to progress and stops us being busy, for little real reward. It’s what gives us the skills to make better decisions.

It’s also the cornerstone of all business success.

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